My life seems to be one struggle after another and I am so tired of always being in survival mode.My friends tell me I am dwelling on the negative too much, but if I am not housebound from pain, I am at a doctor’s appointment. I’d love to have some fun, but I don’t know how to find it. -April
The way we look at things affects our happiness levels. There’s a little poem that reads, “Two men looked out prison bars, one saw mud, the other stars.” The apostle Paul applied that truth to his own life. That’s how he experienced joy even while in prison (Read Philippians).
Paul knew that life was hard, but he also counseled people not to dwell on the negative. Rather, he says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8).
Recent studies in positive psychology confirm the truths of God’s word. It is good to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Research shows that those who regularly practice gratitude are happier people than those who are more prone to grumbling and complaining.
I used to think that it was God’s will for us to be holy not happy but I don’t believe that anymore. God surely calls us to be holy but he also made us to be happy. Holiness and happiness are not opposites but part of a whole. Holiness leads to wholeness and wholeness leads to happiness.
Holy people are happy people. They have found their source of joy, peace, love and hope to be God and are living in sync with their created purpose.
Happiness is not simply a choice, it is also a skill that we need to learn and regularly practice in order to maximize our ability to experience it. Imagine how much happier you’d feel if you weren’t stuck in your negative emotions, bad moods, or difficult life circumstances.
I am finally learning how to be a happier person and you can too.
Leslie Vernick is a licensed counselor with over 25 years of experience helping individuals, couples, and families. “Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy” is her most recent book and is available for purchase at your local bookstore, Amazon, or at Leslie’s website. This book will help you recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep you from experiencing happiness; make good choices and learn from mistakes without beating yourself up; develop the skills that will enable you to let go of negative and painful emotions quicker; and transform difficult circumstances so you can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose.
Read some of your other questions and answers at Her blog at LeslieVernick.blogspot.com , including an article called “How to I make good female friendships? I’ve been burned.”